End of Summer (Hallelujah!)

“Stop growling at me!”

“Put those scissors down now, you are not giving the dog a haircut!”

“Well just hit him back…”

These are all things I have said to my children in the recent timeline in the adventure of my life.¬† To say I’ve been stressed is an understatement.¬† To make issues worse; my middle child (Gabe) gets¬†really¬†severe seasonal allergies this time of year.¬† It’s been tough to venture out at all.¬† He gets purple circles around his eyes and his eczema flares up terribly.

Whatever constitutes as my “self-care” has totally been back-burnered. Er, just pushed off the stove all together.¬† The pan is cold, dusty and the contents are congealed.

See the source image
My Self-Care Jello Salad

I’ve been on and off the keto wagon.¬† I even did a memorable 3 day “zero-carb” stint.¬† It’s been major struggle bus all summer.¬† I need alone time.¬† I need quiet.¬† I need to be able to vacuum without worrying about my daughter expressing herself artistically on our van with a sharpie.¬† True story.¬† It happened.

When I am stressed it is just so hard to stay away from the snickers and other feel-good carbs.¬† I know eating sugar really exacerbates my stress and anxiety but still… the struggle is real!¬† I’ve also noticed that when I fall off the wagon I tend to balloon up immediately.¬† At first I thought it was fat, but then I realized that it’s extra water and glycogen.¬† And…some fat too.

I just keep trying to keep a good perspective.  The number on the scale is not that important in the grand scheme of things.  I know soon my stress levels are going to go way down.  It might coincide with the arrival of a giant yellow vehicle.

See the source image
If you’re a mom and you don’t get excited for back to school….we can’t be friends.

Back to the zero carb, or “carnivore”.¬† I know, it’s crazy.¬† I decided (crazy person that I am) that I should at least try it.¬† The good; I had almost no cravings.¬† I felt very calm and focused.¬† I like cheeseburgers.¬† The bad; I felt tired and definitely got hit with some keto flu or die-off or¬†something. ¬†Digestion was¬†not great. ¬†Not to say I wouldn’t try it again, maybe as a “reboot” before going back to regular keto but I wouldn’t want to do it long term.¬† It’s crazy restrictive.¬† It’s plain crazy.¬† People who end up on zero carb long term usually have to because they have severe auto-immune issues and react to¬†salicylates in vegetables.¬† It makes sense because plants technically can’t run to avoid predators.¬† They produce compounds to avoid being eaten or digested.¬† Think beans.¬† Cows notoriously have 4 stomachs to break down grass.¬† We do not.¬† I also know that when I do eat a meal of veggies (like a huge salad) I usually end up feeling gross, full but somehow not satisfied.¬† If I ate a big, juice (bunless!!) burger I feel really good.

I’ve learned quite a bit about the zero carb movement and it does make sense to me.¬† It also doesn’t seem as crazy as it did at first.¬† It’s something I’ll keep on my radar for sure.¬† If you curious about zero-carb, check out Kelly Hogan’s amazing¬†story.

Hopefully I’ll be back at regular blogging with more adventures and self-experiments.¬† I’d also like to have more of an emphasis on intuitive eating and health over weight loss.¬† I’ve definitely realized that if you are approaching your diet with a single-minded focus on your weight and size, you are probably going to end up feeling miserable and deprived.¬† Especially if you don’t lose weight as quickly as you hoped.¬† If you approach your diet as a holistic plan to be healthier and to feel good, those inevitable weight fluctuations won’t bother you so much. ¬†

Day Three, Yay Me

Yesterday I ended up feeling some die-off symptoms for sure.¬† I spose that’s to be expected after consuming¬† an entire cup of coconut oil. ¬†I’m a “go big or go home” type of person.¬† Obviously.

For me, it’s really all or nothing.

Part of the reason for the fast was that I wanted to get my drinking under control.¬† That sounds really dramatic.¬† *ugh*¬† I never drank much in my early 20’s.¬† The experiences I had as a teen were drinking to the point of blacking out.¬† I hated that out of control feeling and didn’t drink for years.¬† In my late 20’s I started discovering wine and the fact that I really enjoyed it.

I don’t know when it officially becomes a problem but I know I didn’t want to go a night without it.¬† I was also developing a tolerance and needing more and more to get my pleasant little buzz.

I knew I needed to check myself and that I was sabotaging my health goals.¬† Even lower carb wine is¬†not a great choice¬†if you have candida overgrowth.¬† It’s not great for staying in ketosis.¬† It’s not great when you feel like you *need* it.

There is nothing wrong with enjoying wine or beer or whatever in moderation.  But you have to be honest with yourself and evaluate if it is contributing to your goals.  Especially if you have a family history of alcoholism (and I do)…

I’m not saying I’m an alcoholic, or that I’ll never enjoying a drink again, I just want to give my body a break.¬† Plus, trying to do any sort of detox and continuing to drink is…really dumb.¬† You’re liver is going to be overwhelmed.¬† You’re likely to stir up toxins that you can’t process and they’ll just redistribute through your body…all while making you feel like death.

I did notice when I got super strict and low carb the desire to drink went away almost completely.  It makes me wonder if my desire to drink wine was, in part, due to the fact that little yeasty bastards were demanding more sugar- in any form.  Alcohol and Candida 

I’ve talked to some people who had candida issues and they couldn’t stay out of the bread bowl.¬† Or they get shakey if they go 4 hours without eating.¬† Some people become full blown alcoholics.¬† Or, like me, it’s damn near impossible to resist the siren song of¬†sweet. ¬†I am really proud of myself for taking these steps.¬† And it’s so important to “pat yourself on the back” when you make steps to break bad habits or better your health.¬† It’s not easy.¬† But it is worth it.¬† Especially since I¬†do¬†have a lot on my plate.¬† My kids are all home for summer break and they¬†follow me around all day. ¬†Not silently.¬† No.¬† They want to be fed.¬† They want to be entertained.¬† They want to tattle on a sibling.¬† All.¬† Day.¬†Image may contain: 5 people, including Sierra Rose, people smiling, child and closeup

Switching gears a bit- I’ve been doing pretty well.¬† I decided to do a workout and I noticed more little red bumps with white crystals on my abdomen.¬† Not as bad as last time.¬† What I’ve been doing has had the undesired effect of making me run to the bathroom for round after round of hot watery explosions.¬†See the source image
Not the intended effect.

I decided I need to add bentonite clay and psyllium capsules to get more of a real detox- not a “just ate sushi at a buffet in a dive at 4 pm” detox.

I also hope to use this time to not only break bad habits and feel better, but to grow closer to God.¬† I’ve really been slacking, spiritually, of late and fasting is a great way to shake off spiritual apathy.

 

 

Day One, Get’er Done

My detox kit came yesterday and I am well on my way, ya’ll.¬† It’s a 14 day plan and during that time I am consuming¬†no¬†alcohol, sugar or carbs.¬†See the source image I’m playing the world’s tiniest violin for myself right now.

No, not really.  The hardest part is determining to start.  

I kid you not, 95% of the allergies that were ruining my life yesterday have cleared up already.  

I can tell my ketone levels are very high because my thinking is much sharper and I have that “quiet hum” feeling to my thoughts.

At this point I am doing coffee and tea with ample amounts of organic, virgin coconut oil and some grass-fed butter.¬† The point is not to lose weight.¬† I just want to trigger some major¬†autophagy¬†and clear out my digestive system.¬† I’m hoping to see some Alien-style stuff.¬† Just google mucoid plaque and you’ll see what I mean.¬† Or don’t, if you are eating.¬† It’s basically just a disgusting buildup of a rubbery substance that can line the insides of our intestines.¬† It obviously gunks up our system and prevents proper nutrient absorption.¬† Lots of people have decided to post theirs online.¬† I won’t.¬† But it’s out there if you’re curious.¬† It typically only comes out with extended fasting and a cleansing protocol.¬† It brings shock and horror but I’d imagine if you have gunk that needs to come out, you’ll feel like a million bucks when it does. ¬†See the source image

There’s is no way I am living off of bulletproof coffee for 14 days so I’ll incorporate some raw veggies too.¬† I’ll try to post everyday with *fun and interesting* tidbits from my experience.

Birthday Cakes and Icy Lakes

Yesterday was my 32nd birthday. I went on a roadtrip to visit my mom’s side of the family for a reunion in Wisconsin.

received_21743066627998452094476642402983655.jpeg
*Pretending to do lakeside Yoga*

My husband gifted me some pretty sweet bowflex select tech dumbells.  He knows the way to my heart!!

It was fun and included an iced dark chocolate mocha, french fries and an ice cream sundae. #noregrets

But today is going to be a fasting day.¬† I just got done watching most of the “Skinny on Fat” series and¬†Supercharged¬†the movie.¬† The series really should have been more condensed.¬† Each episode was over 2 hours long and there was a lot of repetition.¬† The Supercharged movie was pretty cheesy (low carb!) but had some good info.¬† But again, mostly just more of what I already know I¬†should be doing. ¬†

I say “should be” because the two things that stick out to me are two things that most human beings are pretty resistant towards- fasting and purposeful cold exposure.¬† #notfun¬† But if you want to get the best results, as far as being healthy, lean, and staying young- you have to embrace some discomfort.

One thing that sticks out to me is that now science is backing up practices that people have been embracing for health reasons for eons.¬† Fasting as a religious practice has basically always been practiced.¬† When I read about other people’s struggles to get into ketosis, it taking days and being very uncomfortable, I was surprised.¬† I got into ketosis the first day and it really wasn’t a difficult process.¬† Now I chalk that up to the fasting I’ve done over the years for spiritual purposes.¬† If you go extended lengths abstaining from food you¬†will¬†go into ketosis even if you don’t mean to or have any idea what that means.¬† At that point you have more fat-burning flexibility.¬† Your body is much more adept at transitioning.¬† Fasting has been embraced as a powerful spiritual tool throughout human history but now we can appreciate the truly amazing¬†benefits .¬† Fasting is probably the closest thing to the fountain of youth that we currently understand.

Up here in Minnesota we have what’s known as the “Polar Plunge”; where people will cut a hole in the ice (on a lake, of course) and jump into the freezing cold water.¬† I used to live by a dentist who swore by this and would jump into our icy lake often.¬† I thought these people were nuts.¬† Nuts, maybe, but now we know the amazing health-promoting¬† properties of exposing your body to intense cold for brief periods.¬† It’s even better if you can alternate hot and cold.¬† Like they do in Scandinavian countries- go from the sauna to the ice.¬† If you don’t have access to a frozen lake you can always mimic this in the much less cool (but still effective) basic ice bath.¬† Or even just cold water bath.¬† I think there’s one in my future that I am currently psyching myself up for.

Why go through all of this?¬† Well, I am 32 and I want to get better and feel better with age.¬† I spent a lot of my 20’s feeling horrible and I have a lot of life I want to live.¬† Oh, and I also want to look great while doing it. ūüėČ

So here is to living life.  Enjoying sundaes and fundays but also getting out of your comfort zone to tap into powerful, ancient health-rejuvenating powerhouses!!

Growing Kids and Lectins

Having your kids on a keto plan means that you’re going to be spending a lot of time in the kitchen.¬† A lot.¬† Cooking, baking, cleaning, oh my!

20180721_174624246537892177574071.jpg
Michael, with his 2nd keto brownie 

My plight is perhaps even worse because of the fact that my oldest child is growing like an inch a week and always hungry.¬† He’s only 13 and he is almost 5’9″!

They’ve been getting sick of eggs in all their different forms. so I’ve been making a lot of chocolate shakes for breakfast.¬† I just blend up half and half with peanut butter, raw cocoa powder and my monk fruit sweetener blend.¬† They really like the shakes and get a gazillion calories to fuel their weed-like growth.

We agreed that Friday would be a “cheat” day were they could eat whatever.¬† I figure it’s a good bribe to keep everyone happy and they are still getting the benefits of ketosis while getting a good dose of carbs once a week.

My daughter spent the weekend with my mom.¬† I wasn’t about to try to make her follow the keto plan at grandma’s house so Shiloh had a weekend full of fun and gluten.¬† I just got her back this evening and…wow.¬† What a difference.¬† She’s burst into tears no less than 10 times.¬† I had to take her to the grocery store and it was like trying to herd a stray cat through a maze of frenzied shoppers.¬† I guess it really serves as confirmation that at the¬†very least¬†she is benefiting greatly from a gluten free diet.¬† On the keto plan I have seen her become¬†way¬†more calm and focused.

I’ve been watching Naomi Whittel’s¬†documentary series on the ketogenic diet.¬† One really interesting thing that I’ve learned is that mankind actually shrunk a foot when they transitioned from a hunter/gatherer lifestyle (think paleo) to and agricultural one.¬† One reason is, many of the grains we consume today are high in lectins– effectively an anti-nutrient produced by plants as a defense against getting eaten.¬† It’s the reason that if you eat beans that aren’t fully cooked you can get very ill.¬† The lectins are tearing up your gut.¬† They cause the gas, bloating, lethargy and poor absorption of nutrients that many people just live with.¬† The two main ingredients that make up the bulk of processed foods- wheat and soy (which are also mostly GMO) also happen to be the highest in lectins.¬† I’ve noticed going keto has really improved my digestion.¬† So when I occasionally eat a treat that is¬†definitely¬†not keto or healthy, it doesn’t affect me nearly as much as it used to.¬† I suppose my gut is healing on this much less inflammatory diet.¬† Since gut and brain are intimately¬†connected; it makes sense that a flexible keto approach to eating would be a wise choice for growing kids.

 

Keto Kids

We started Keto as a family last Thursday so today would be day 6 of our “keto adventure”.¬† Well for everyone except my husband who is still sneaking foods like triscuits and heavily sweetened “coffee”. *eyeroll*

So, what have I noticed, other than a lot of complaining?

It’s hard to tell for sure but two instances stand out.¬† My daughter and I were shopping at Target yesterday.¬† Not a get in an out kind of trip, more like “I need to get of the d@mn house before I lose my mind” kind of trip.¬† Lots of meandering.¬† Midway through I glanced down at my daughter, Shiloh, with the sudden realization that she was being good.¬† Very good.¬† She quietly and calmly walked right next to my side¬†through the entire store.¬†¬†

20180716_1658281411698567778612449.jpg

My Little Capuchin!

Then I remembered how eerily well behaved she was yesterday when we took my MIL to a huge antique store.¬† We were nervous bringing her into a cramped place jam packed with breakable items.¬† But she was borderline angelic the entire time.¬† Which, yes, is a huge improvement from her norm.¬† Running off, grabbing stuff, tantrums… oh my.¬†¬†In my opinion, it’s still to early to tell.¬† The real test will come when they go back to school.¬†¬†20180718_0809016013263692184364662.jpg

I did pick up some keto test strips yesterday for the first time.  I tested my daughter this morning and she is definitely in ketosis.  The reading was very high, which I attribute to the fact that she was in a fasting state after having just woke up.

I don’t know if I’ve noticed an improvement in either of my two sons though.¬† My middle child, Gabe, is my little sugar baby and has been¬†very¬†vocal and cranky about the diet.¬† He’s always loved his carbs though.¬† That kid could live off of bread alone.

 

20180718_0903324608323291125855387.jpg
He’s SO dramatic, I have no clue where he gets it from…

If I don’t see any benefits for my two boys, of course I won’t make them stick with the diet.¬† It is, however, a great way to reboot and kick sugar addiction.¬† Even if I ease up I think it will be much easier to limit sugar and junk because they will have so completely changed their eating habits.

 

 

 

 

Cheesy Keto Bacon-Wrapped Meatloaf

First; the recipe and then an update on how my kids are doing so far on keto. 20180714_1859348371197084850478944.jpg

This is a recipe I found at allrecipes and adapted to keto with a couple tweaks.¬† It’s supposed to be done on a grill but I cooked it in the oven instead.¬† It is pretty good, as you can imagine!

Cheesy Bacon-Wrapped Meatloaf (keto!)

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 blanched almond flour
  • 1/2 diced yellow onion
  • 3 tbs. low sugar ketchup
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • 1 tsp. basil
  • 1 tsp. parsley (I used dried spices)
  • 2 pounds grass fed ground beef
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 7 slices uncured bacon

First you want to take a long piece of heavy duty aluminum foil (long enough that it would be about the length of a cookie sheet¬†after¬†folded in half).¬† Line up the bacon horizontally in the middle of the aluminum.¬† (You’ll want to be able to shape your loaf on top of the bacon and fold it up over the sides.)¬† Using aluminum isn’t 100% necessary but it¬†really¬†cuts down on cleaning time.¬† Preset your oven for 375 degrees F.¬† Add the first 11 ingredients to a large mixing bowl.¬† I mix by hand (I find it easier) but do whatever works for you to get all the ingredients well combined.¬† At that point you can dump the mix on top of the bacon slices and form it into a loaf shape.¬† Wrap the bacon up over the sides.¬† Fold the edges of the aluminum up to form a makeshift loaf pan and transfer onto a cookie sheet.¬† Put that pile o’ meat on the bottom rack.¬† I baked mine for about 65 minutes.¬† You’ll definitely want to check it with a meat thermometer and make sure the middle is at least 160 degrees F.¬† When you take it out, let it “rest” for 5-10 minutes.¬† You can brush on extra ketchup, but that’s extra carbs and honestly, the meatloaf really doesn’t need it.¬†20180714_1907237275425801692758309.jpg

The bacon flavor really permeates the entire loaf without overpowering the other flavors.¬† It’s so good you almost feel guilty eating it!!¬† It was a big hit at my house.¬† I’ll definitely make it again.¬† It’s not the¬†prettiest¬†or most elegant meal to photograph but it is insanely delicious and filling and satisfying.¬† No midnight munching after eating this!

Sorry guys, I don’t have nutritional info as I kind of threw this together today.¬† It does have 7-8 good size servings with a very small amount of carbs.¬† Serve next to a low-carb veggie (with butter, of course!) for a perfect keto dinner.

So…. we’ve been doing keto as a family now for two days.¬† I feel like it is going really well so far.¬† The second morning my oldest woke up and was hungry and shaky.¬† My youngest actually vomited.¬† I think it is because with their fast metabolisms they were going through the keto flu period at an¬†accelerated rate.¬† I’ve been spending a lot of time in the kitchen, making nummy food for them.¬† I made a keto cheesecake and two batches of my chocolate keto muffins so far.¬† They (inspite of some complaining) mostly like the food so far.¬† They seem like they are doing pretty well, aside from that first morning when their bodies were obviously still struggling to adapt.

There isn’t much information about how to do this diet for kids online.¬† I’m just going to have to discover as I go.¬† That’s one reason I feel like it’s important to blog about our journey.